SRINAGAR: With extended rainy season this year delaying local farm produce, Kashmir is likely to face shortage of vegetable, as well as, price escalation in coming months.
Wholesalers dealing the vegetables and fruits here say the shortfall in supplies and rise in prices may further get escalated due to expected strain in vegetable imports, as continuous rains in northern Indian states had devastating effect on the rabi crops.
“This phase of the year is always vulnerable, as we procure most of the supplies from outside, with our production being lean this time around and rains this year had ruined whatever produce we used to have,” said Shabir Ahmad Wani, a wholesaler at the main vegetable mandi in Batmaloo here.
“The local produce mostly available this time is spinach, hakh and radish, witnessing not only brisk sales but the prices of these local items are on higher side as compared to previous year.”
Wani said most of the other vegetables presently in the market come from outside, as the locally produced cauliflower, cabbage and some other vegetables have got damaged by the rains.
The weather according to dealers has damaged the expected crop of most of the vegetables and hit the local production, with growers too anxious over the future of their crop.
Hilal Ahmad one of vegetable growers in Noorbagh, the traditional vegetable growing area in the city told Kashmir Raeder rains have damaged the crop of green leafy vegetables including spanich and hakh and excess waters have further damaged the prospects of many vegetable like knoll khol, and second batch of leafy vegetables.
Last year locally produced radish, knoll knoll, and carrots where in abundance in the market, but this time around there is no hope as inclement weather has spoiled chances of a better crop.
He said even the potato crop sown by many growers has been damaged due to excess waters.
Mohamd Shafi one of the farmers in Budgam’s Narkara belt that has emerged as one of main vegetable growing zones in the Valley said that freak weather will surely surge the prices as we are apprehensive of a better crop yield this year and have not been able to maintain supplies at par with last year.
Wholesale dealers also say that in north India vegetable production too may witness a decline as approaching summers in the northern India conventionally bring down the vegetable production in many of the sates, with supplies from Jammu province too coming under stress.
One of the wholesalers at the market said that Jammu currently has been supplying Khanyari variety of hakh that is now successfully grown there, while peas are imported from Chanderkote, Ramban though both commodities are seeing a decline.
Wholesaler Wani said the prices of vegetable will be out of the comfort zone of customers as potatoes, tomatoes, squash, brinjal, cabbage and cauliflower have seen a surge in prices.
“We are aware about the local supplest this year may get delayed as sowing of summer crop too has been deferred due to the inclement weather and for the time being we will have to remain dependent dwindling imports,” he said adding that the wholesales itself provides a competitive market for these imported vegetables.
Sooner these higher wholesale costs will pass on to consumers and retail vegetable markets may remain volatile till local crop arrives.
Wholesalers say that Valley over the years has been actively exporting many of the vegetables to neighboring northern states in peak season but this year may witness lesser exports.]